A Frequent Backpacker's Guide to Sleeping on the Trail

Forget the memory foam pillow, sound machine and 800-count Egyptian cotton sheets. You don't need a lot of gear to sleep well in a tent. Something as simple as a sleeping pad can make all the difference in how much shut-eye you get. Use these tips and gear items to make your next camping trip a restful one

More: 8 Unconventional Remedies to Sleep Better at the Campsite

1. Invest in a Sleeping Pad

A sleeping pad will give you the comfort of a padded surface without adding a lot of weight to your backpack. There are several different options to choose from for maximum comfort. Start with a low cost mat and figure out what your body needs before you purchase something more expensive. 

More: Top 5 Qualities of a Good Sleeping Bag

2. Listen to Mother Nature

There's a reason why sound machines mimic the great outdoors—nature can be soothing. Listen to the stream run, frogs croak, crickets sing, and breeze blow to sooth your mind and relax your body. If these sounds are the reason why you can't sleep, invest in earplugs to doze off in silence.

3. Pick the Right Tent Spot

Be strategic while setting up camp. If it's hot, pitch your tent under a tree for shade. If it's rocky, move the rock or find brush and leaves to separate you from the ground. The best option is to find a new spot if your initial choice doesn't feel right.

4. Buy the Right Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags are made specifically for certain weather conditions. For example, if you're in a cooler area and you tend to get cold easily, invest in warmer bag.

More: How to Choose a Sleeping Bag

5. Go to the Restroom Before Bed

When you're snug in your sleeping bag and there's a slight chill in the air, the last thing you want to do is get up to relieve yourself. Always use the restroom right before bed to rid yourself of any potential discomfort. If you have to go in the middle of the night, and it's cold outside, just go. Going to the bathroom will actually help you feel warmer and more comfortable while sleeping.

6. Wake Up Early

Instead of fighting the sun, take a hike to see the sunrise. Make a great breakfast for your fellow campers. Read a book while sipping coffee. This way, your body will naturally be tired and make it easier to fall asleep at night.

7. Get Into a Routine

Use your usual bedtime routine while camping to help your body adjust to sleeping outdoors. Maintain your morning routine as well. 

8. Make Adjustments With Each Trip

Make note of all your issues—you need more padding or your sleeping bag is too cold—and actively seek out ways to improve them for each trip that follows. 

More: 5 Tips to Plan Your Camping Trip

RAFind a Campground at ReserveAmerica.com.

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